A smallish crowd of 2,064 got a better than expected afternoon, weather wise, and a game that amounted to little more than an practice game, as Oregon St. obliterated an overmatched Northern Illinois squad that couldn't pitch or hit at the level of a Pac-12 team.
The fifth ranked Beavers jumped out to a 3 run lead in their first at bat, and cruised to a 10-0 win over the Huskies, their 3rd shutout of the series they swept despite not having the ace of their staff available.
Because Andrew Moore came down with the flu, Ben Wetzler, originally scheduled to start Sunday, moved up to Friday night, and with another game on Tuesday night to conclude their current 10 game home stand, Oregon St. coach Pat Casey opted to use usual right fielder Dylan Davis as his starter, and then throw a variety of bullpen arms at Northern Illinois behind Davis, saving freshman Jake Thompson for Ohio St., and resting Moore for the weekend.
As a result, Oregon St. also shook up their lineup, but despite all the distractions, the Beavers still overwhelmed the Huskies.
Michael Conforto (again) drew multiple walks, and delivered multiple hits, and multiple RBIs, and also scored multiple times, something that's likely to be something we can copy & paste into game stories all season. Conforto had an RBI double in the second to make the score 4-0 Oregon St.
Gabe Clark also had another good game, with a pair of hits, and 4 RBIs, Clark went 7 for 16 on the weekend, and now has himself a 6 game hitting streak. It was Clark's 2 RBI single that got the scoring started.
But the real story of the game was the inability of the Northern Illinois pitching staff to throw strikes.
Oregon St. had 8 hits on the afternoon, but Northern Illinois issued a full dozen bases on balls, and hit 3 other batters.
The Beavers pushed 5 runs across in the 6th to blow the game open, and the inning started with 3 consecutive walks, followed by Conforto being hit by a pitch, as he found another way to generate an RBI.
Clark followed that with a double for 2 more RBIs, and Davis, who stayed in the game offensively backed that up with a 2 RBI single.
The Beavers added a run in the 8th, which should have triggered the 10 run rule, but didn't possibly contributing to the second episode in the inning of a base runner over-rounding a base and getting thrown out trying to get back, a display of bad baseball that no doubt left a bad taste in Coach Casey's mouth on what was otherwise as dominant a weekend as Oregon St. has had in some time.
Easily overlooked in the game could be the job Zach Reser did on the mound. Davis only lasted into the 3rd inning, though he did only allow 2 hits, a product of 3 walks and a hit by pitch of his own. But Reser took over and threw 4 innings spread out across 5, and allowed only 2 hits, and no walks, on his way to picking up his 2nd win of the year.
Phil Belding, Kevin Flemer, and Max Engelbrekt all got in some work as well, and none of them allowed a hit.
The Beavers improved to 14-3, and have won 6 straight, while the Huskies fell to 1-12-1.
In hindsight, much moreso than last year's series against Bryant, scheduling Northern Illinois instead of an actually competitive team from the West Coast or Big West conference probably would have been better for all concerned.
Oregon St. has now shut out their opponent in 4 of their last 5 games, and have 6 shutouts this season.
Ohio St., (8-5) will be at Goss Tuesday night. The Buckeyes dropped a 20-4 decision to Oregon today, and as a result, the series at PK Park 2 games to 1 to the 14th ranked Ducks.